Q: What was the plan for the advance base?|
SC: The advanced base was planned basically to have three men in it, to study
meteorological conditions and other scientific effects, down at the polar
plateau, in the mountains and the plan was established on the basis,
particularly, it had never been done before. Of course, people had been at the
South Pole but at this gathering, this information for a year, was something
else again. So, that was the reason for the base.
Q: Was it a scientific reason or do you think it was for publicity reasons
or for a stunt?
SC: Well, originally Byrd's name had not come into consideration to be one of
the men. It was to be manned by three people and it was felt that there were
going to be meteorologists and other men with scientific bearing. Byrd's
desire to be a member of the base had not come to the surface originally, at
least we didn't know that it was considered. But, when the time came to
establish the base and the weather conditions that prevented us from getting
out into the area, with sufficient supplies and equipment, reduced it to one
man, Byrd said, I'll go. In other words, he didn't want to ask anyone to go
out there alone.
Q: At what point did Byrd say, did it become clear to you, you couldn't set
it up for three people and Byrd had to do it. So, he decided he wanted to go
SC: Well, the weather, because we had the problem with the ice breaking up and
the weather establishing the main base, dictated that the main base was more
important than the advance base. So, that when we go through and got the
base, the main base established to a major degree, then the question was, well,
what are we going to do about advance base. And, it was determined that 100
miles was about what we could do, within the period of light and weather
conditions that we expected, at that time.
That's what determined and we, and as much as we could only get it out 100
miles, we also had to cut back on the equipment, fuel supplies and food. We
couldn't get enough to maintain three men and it was established that one man
would go and the Admiral said, and I'll be that man.
Q: Did people try to talk him out of going out there alone?
SC: Yes, we did.
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